Iowa classifies heroin as a Schedule I Substance. Not all heroin offenses are treated the same, and the penalties vary depending on whether the individual was in mere possession of heroin, or whether the individual was manufacturing, delivering, or possessing with the intent to deliver or manufacture heroin. Other variables include the amount of heroin, the location where the crime occurred, whether the individual was in possession of a firearm, and the Defendant’s criminal history.
A first time conviction for possession of heroin is a serious misdemeanor. Offenders of a serious misdemeanor face up to a year in prison, and a fine between $315.00 and $1,875.00. If the individual has been previously convicted of possession of a controlled substance, the offense is charged as an aggravated misdemeanor. Penalties for this offense includes up to two years in prison, and a fine between $625.00 and $6,250.00. A subsequent conviction for this offense is charged as a Class D felony, with a sentence up to 5 years in prison, and a fine between $750.00 and $7,500.00. Whether it is the first conviction or subsequent conviction, an individual possessing heroin within 1,000.00 feet of a school, public park, swimming pool, or recreational center, must complete 100 hours of community service work.
Iowa also makes it a crime to manufacture, deliver, or possess with the intent to manufacture or deliver heroin. The charge and penalty depends greatly on the amount of heroin. If the amount of heroin is 100 grams or less, then the individual is charged with a Class C felony, faces up to ten years in prison, and must pay a fine between 1,000.00 and 50,000.00 dollars. If the amount of heroin is more than 100 grams, but not more than one kilogram, then the individual is charged with a Class B felony, faces up to twenty-five years in prison, and must pay a fine between $5,000.00 and $100,000.00. If the amount of heroin is more than one kilogram, the charge is still a Class B felony, and the accused faces up to fifty years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $1,000,000.00.
There are many aggravating factors that can increase a sentence. For example, if the manufacturing, delivery, or possession with intent to deliver occurs within the same location or time period of other similar acts, then they can be attributed to the same scheme, and the weight of the heroin can be combined for purposes of charging the offense. If an individual unlawfully distributes, or possesses with intent to deliver heroin to a person under the age of 18 years of age, then the offense is charged as a Class B felony, and the minimum term of confinement is five years. If it was then distributed within 1,000.00 feet of a public or private elementary or secondary school, public park, public swimming pool, public recreation center, or on a marked school bus, the individual faces a minimum confinement of ten years.
Similar to the possession charge, if the individual has been previously convicted of manufacturing, delivery, or possession with the intent to manufacture or deliver, then the individual face increased penalties and charges. A person convicted of a second or subsequent violation may face a prison term not to exceed three times the term otherwise authorized, or fine not more than three times the amount authorized.
Other options may be available to individuals convicted of heroin offenses, including the possibility of drug court, deferred judgments, and probation. An experienced attorney can negotiate with the County Attorney to decrease the sentence or charges depending on the circumstances of the case. If an in individual is facing a heroin charge, it is best to consult with an attorney to determine the most favorable outcome to their case.